150 antique artifacts put up for sale online
Ömer Erbil - ISTANBUL
A former collector whose license was revoked in 2011, has put up 150 artifacts on sale online for 75,000 Turkish Liras, the equivalent of approximately $19,200, despite an outcry from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums.
“Some 150 artifacts are registered at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, including glass, earthenware, metal pieces and amphoras. Formal documents will be shared with potential bidders,” said a post by Cem İncesulu on the website on March 13.
Ten photos of amphoras, tear vials, glass necklaces and terracottas were also put on the website.
When called to bid on the artifacts, he claimed that all the artifacts were legally registered and pretended to be a licensed collector. The reason for putting them up for sale was his intention to move into a smaller house, he added.
Reaction from museum management
However, the management of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums has warned Cem İncesulu and his wife Vasfiye Ayşe İncesulu they could be prosecuted if they do not hand over the artifacts to the authorities.
“We will file a criminal complaint against them unless they return the artifacts to the museum. The artifacts can only be handed to another licensed collector or to a museum. They are supposed to inform us before any deal. The museum holds ownership rights for the registered artifacts. According to law no. 2863, it is prohibited to sell these artifacts,” said one of the managers who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Cem İncesulu’s collector’s license was revoked in 2011 due to misconduct and violation of conservation rules. He added that his wife, Vasfiye Ayşe İncesulu, had taken over the artifacts.
Vasfiye Ayşe İncesulu was also given notice that her collector’s license would be revoked.
There are currently 1,590 licensed collectors in Turkey in accordance with law no. 2863, which regulates the ways to protect and conserve cultural and natural assets and heritage.
The law necessitates all the pieces in private collections that are indicated in the inventory register. The concerned museum should be given 15 days notice prior to an exchange of pieces between collectors.